The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners approved an agreement to improve Old Lebanon Dirt Road on first reading Monday.

The agreement was between the city of Mt. Juliet and WSP USA Inc., a global engineering firm, and it will include a three-lane section with a multi-use path on the south side of the road. The three-lane section would realign and widen Old Lebanon Dirt Road between Chandler Road and Moreland Drive.

Public Works Director Andy Barlow said the project will not be a small one. “We are at about three-quarters of the way through the title searches and are also estimating at 90 tracts,” said Barlow.

The plan will include all of the appraisals and negotiations for all of the properties surrounding Old Lebanon Dirt Road.

Vice Mayor and District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice was concerned about WSP’s engineering process as well as their end date to finalize the contract.

Barlow said that both the city and WSP do not have end dates in consulting contracts due to constant variables. “This makes it difficult for us to assign a timeframe on engineering this project,” said Barlow.

“WSP can be engineering this for five years without any pushback from the city if they keep doing this,” said Justice.

Barlow assured that there will be clauses in the contract with WSP.

“If we feel like there is any inactivity on WSP’s part, we could terminate our agreement with them, but they have been doing very good service for us,” said Barlow.

The estimated cost of the project is $14.3 million.

Justice was also concerned about the city’s progress on improving Golden Bear Gateway, and mentioned locations where the road is sinking.

“We are not very far behind this project,” said Barlow. “The right-of-way plans are completed, and we are pretty close to starting the right-of-way acquisition on that project as well.”

Mayor James Maness asked about the city’s process on revitalizing Juliet Drive to Chandler Road.

Barlow answered that they do not yet have a timeframe on this plan. “When we did the safety audit for this project, the worse section of the road is the one we have under contract right now,” said Barlow.

Maness agreed on making the revitalization of Juliet Drive to Chandler Road a priority but wanted the city to move as quickly as possible to do so. “I know a lot of the verbiage and language around it was contingent on funding, but I am committed to get it done and have the road improved as well as the number of transportation projects in Mt. Juliet,” said Maness.

The revitalization will have two lanes with a center-turn lane, a shoulder, and a multi-use path on the south side of the road.

Construction for this revitalization would range around $8 to $10 million, and the right-of-way would also range between $2.5 and $3 million.

The commission also passed a budget amendment to improve park land including Sgt. Jerry Mundy Memorial Park. Two additional properties will be developed in this project, totaling over $1.4 million.

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